World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Tunja, Colombia Featured

The 7th World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships have kicked off on Dec. 6, 2012 for a four-day run in Tunja, Colombia, where a record number of participating athletes perform free-style poomsae for the first time.

Poomsae is a form of taekwondo consisting of various fundamental stances, blocks, punches and kicks logically arranged in a meaningful order in response to attacks from multiple imaginary assailants attacking from different directions.

Free-style poomsae features individual, pair and mixed teams of athletes performing attacking and defending taekwondo techniques, along with a composition of music and choreography of their choice for 60-70 seconds, which is then scored on technical skills and presentation.

Technical skills are scored on the level of difficulty of foot techniques, accuracy of movements and degree of completion of poomsae, while presentation consists of creativeness, harmony and expression of energy.

"It is fantastic for Colombia to host its first major taekwondo competition we are all delighted to be here at this event," said President of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Chungwon Choue.

"Five hundred and fifty six athletes are participating from 53 different countries across the globe, ranging from under 17 years to over 59 years of age, showing the truly universal nature of taekwondo which is quickly becoming the second most practiced sport, behind football, in the Pan American Region.

"Another milestone is that these are the first Championships where freestyle taekwondo is being introduced making the event all the more exciting for both athletes and spectators."

The competition's Opening Ceremony entertained an audience estimated to be over 10,000 including a number of VIPs, such as the WTF President Chungwon Choue, Fernando Florez Espinosa, the Mayor of Tunja, Ana Edurne Camacho, the director of the seventh World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships and the President of the Colombian Taekwondo Federation Raul Pinzon.

The South American country has enjoyed a substantial growth in popularity for the sport of taekwondo since national Oscar Munoz won a gold medal at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games, which he followed up with a bronze for Colombia at London 2012.

Espinosa expressed what the Championships mean for his city. "This event is the first global taekwondo event ever held in Colombia," he said. "The people in this city are so excited to see the competition."

"This sport is the fastest growing sport, not only in Colombia, but also around the world,"he said. "This is why it is such a great opportunity to show Tunja to the world as a sport city." "At the same time, it will boost further development of taekwondo in the city and in the entire country."

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